Today I used fresh herbs because we had them. If there aren’t fresh herbs, I use dried. And lots of times we don’t have all of the other ingredients on hand. We make the stock anyway and as long as onion, herbs, carrot are included, the stock is delicious. (Here is the chicken stock recipe that we follow.)
Because we have a bay tree growing in a pot in the garden, we have the luxury of being able to use fresh bay leaves. They are SO much better than the crispy grey leaves sold in little jars in the supermarket!
Last night we had the best hickory smoked barbecued chicken. T covered the chicken in our version of “Old Bay” spice rub. (I confess that we’ve never actually tried the real “Old Bay Seasoning” but trust me, this rub is one of the best seasonings for chicken that I can imagine.) I’ll report more on that fantastic dinner later….
This morning, I threw the carcass – aromatic with “Old Bay” and hickory smoke – into a stockpot with onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, cloves, celery seed, a fresh bay leaf, a couple of dried mushrooms, dried cayenne chili and just enough water to cover the bones.
I love that this particular chicken stock has both fresh bay and dried bay, from crushed dried bay leaves that went into the Old Bay Seasoning. And yes, those dried bay leaves were from our tree too. Dried bay leaves that haven’t been sitting around gathering dust for several years are almost as intensely flavoured as the fresh ones….
The stock is on a slow slow simmer now. Don’t you wish you could be in our kitchen to inhale this wonderful perfume?
Bay Laurel is a tender perennial that likes rich organic soil, sun and warmth, but it can tolerate some shade. Night temperatures shouldn’t go much below 10C. Water daily when it is very hot. But take care that the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.
When night temperatures start to fall below 10C, bring the pot indoors for the winter. Keep it in bright light and water when the soil is dry. In spring when night temperatures are above 10C, bring the pot outside. Veil it from the sun for the first two weeks to gradually reintroduce it to the intense outdoor light.
Once the plant is well established (2 feet tall with plenty of leaves), use fresh whole leaves as required. One leaf in soup stock is plenty. Try not to take too many leaves over the winter as the plant is in dormancy.
Read more about bay laurel:
- growing bay laurel
- WHB#23: bay laurel (12 March 2006)
- wikipedia – bay laurel
- Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages – laurel
Next week is WHB’s 1st anniversary! For complete details on how to participate, please go to: